Justice ministers have “finally caught up with reality” by taking steps to update the law on bereavement damages for unmarried couples, APIL said today.
The Government has published a draft remedial order to amend the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. People whose partners are killed because of negligence would be able to claim for statutory bereavement damages, so long as they have cohabited with the deceased for at least two years.
“So far bereaved partners have been ignored by the law just because they are not married,” said Brett Dixon, president of APIL, a not-for-profit campaign group which has long called for an overhaul of the law on statutory bereavement damages.
“Today’s news is a small but significant step into bringing the system for acknowledging needless bereavement out of the dark ages,” he said.
“It is very long overdue progress on behalf of the millions of cohabitees in loving relationships. The injustice and loss suffered because of a needless death is not limited to those who are married.
“We would like to see the law reflect modern society properly and what families actually look like in 2019. As it stands only spouses, children under the age of 18, and parents of deceased children under the age of 18, are entitled to claim bereavement damages. What about the bereft parents of the 19-year-old killed at work? Or the sister trying to deal with the loss of her sibling in a car crash which should never have happened?” said Mr Dixon.